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Heart failure enzyme regulator discovered

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          HEALTH TIPS - Monday, February 26, 2007
               "News That Keeps You Healthy"


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         Heart failure enzyme regulator discovered

PHILADELPHIA, -- U.S. scientists have discovered an enzyme 
important during in fetal heart-cell development also reg-
ulates enlargement of heart cells. Scientists know that in 
nearly all forms of heart failure, the heart begins to 
express genes that are normally only expressed in the fetal
heart. But it's never been determined what regulates the 
development that results in a condition known as cardiac 
hypertrophy. Now, investigators at the University of 
Pennsylvania's School of Medicine have discovered the 
enzyme HDAC regulates cardiac hypertrophy -- a precursor 
to many forms of congestive heart failure. "It's as if old
programs are being reactivated in a sick heart," said 
senior study author Dr. Jonathan Epstein. "In an adult 
heart, stresses such as high blood pressure induce the re-
expression of a fetal gene program." The investigators 
found by inhibiting HDAC in adult mice, the fetal-gene 
program can be prevented from restarting. The study, which 
paves the way for developing new treatments for cardiac 
hypertrophy and heart failure, appears in an advanced on-
line publication of the journal Nature Medicine.

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           Anti-bacterial dietary supplement created

GHENT, Belgium, -- Belgian scientists say they've developed 
a dietary supplement that protects the lives of farm shrimp 
from bacterial infections without using antibiotics. The 
researchers at Ghent University fed brine shrimp a compound 
called poly-ß-hydroxybutyrate, or PHB, that prevented the 
shrimp from becoming infected with Vibrio campbellii, an 
antibiotic-resistant pathogenic bacteria. "We recently 
found that PHB-containing bacteria can also be used to 
protect the shrimp from the vibrios (without extracting 
the compound from the bacteria) and we are currently test-
ing the potential of such microbes in other animal models," 
said co-investigators Professor Willy Verstraete and Tom 
Defoirdt. "Given the fact that PHB can be produced on an 
industrial scale for a reasonable price, PHB addition to 
animal diets would be an alternative to antibiotics that 
is not only effective, but also economically attractive."
The scientists say the finding may make it possible to 
protect other organisms from pathogenic bacterial by using 
a dietary supplement, thereby replacing antibiotics. The 
study is detailed in the journal Environmental Microbiology.

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                FDA orders warnings for Xolair

WASHINGTON, -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration order-
ed Genentech Inc. to add a boxed warning to its asthmatic 
drug marketed as Xolair. The FDA said the boxed warning 
should emphasize Xolair (omalizumab) might cause anaphyl-
axis, including trouble breathing, chest tightness, dizzi-
ness, fainting, itching and hives and swelling of the 
mouth and throat. In addition, FDA ordered Genentech to 
revise the Xolair label and provide a medication guide for 
patients to strengthen the existing warning for anaphyl-
axis. Xolair was approved in 2003 to treat adults and 
adolescents suffering moderate to severe persistent asthma 
and who have tested positive for a perennial aeroallergen 
and whose symptoms are inadequately controlled with in-
haled steroids. Although anaphylaxis was reported in about 
one-in-1,000 patients during clinical trials, the FDA said 
continued reports prompted it to issue the Wednesday order.

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